BACARRA, Ilocos Norte– Ousted vice mayor Pacifico “Pacing” Velasco has claimed that the Supreme Court en banc will give its final say on his petition for certiorari with prayer for the granting of TRO on his case of election disqualification and graft charges which were resolved against him by Comelec and Sandiganbayan, respectively.
Interviewed by newsmen at his house here after his ouster, Velasco said he awaits the final decision of the Supreme Court en banc whether he bows out or he gets a chance to return to his post as vice mayor of this town.
He expressed optimism on his case telling reporters that he’s hoping the High Tribunal en banc “will exonerate him” from all the charges lodged against him by his political enemy. It was learned that he had hired brilliant lawyers in Manila to aid him in his last-ditch legal battle.
Earlier, Velasco was officially ousted from his post when Comelec provincial supervisor Atty. Alipio Castillo, accompanied by police officers, served the writ of execution in the Office of the Vice Mayor.
Velasco was not present in his office. Instead, his secretary received a copy of the writ although he was spotted in his office and left the place early that morning of February 7, report said.
The writ was issued by Comelec central office in Manila which disqualified Velasco as vice mayoral candidate in the last local election due to his conviction for graft by Sandiganbayan.
In the absence of Gov. Imee Marcos who went on out-of-town travel, Vice Gov. Angelo Barba acting as OIC governor arrived at the Bacarra town hall and immediately sworn in first municipal councilor Jonathan Ramit as new vice mayor of this town. Record shows that Ramit served as long OIC vice mayor in lieu of Velasco who went on sick leave for more than a year.
Velasco stayed most of the time in Metro Manila, claiming he was under medical treatment in an undisclosed hospital as evidenced by his doctor’s medical certificates. During that period, however, lawmen also tried to locate his whereabouts in a bid to serve his arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan which sentenced him for graft.
On January 18, lawmen nabbed him in San Mateo, Rizal and was taken under the custody of Sandiganbayan. Hours later, he posted P70,000 bail for his temporary liberty. He returned home and temporarily resumed his duties and functions as vice mayor till the writ of execution on February 7 ousted him.
As this developed, Velasco’s nephew INEC director Leonardo “Addo” Velasco, principal complainant in the graft case, reacted through the media saying the political downfall of his “Tio Pacing” is not his personal victory but the victory of justice for their whole townmates of Bacarra.(JRG)